This was her third move in as many years. She was exhausted. She had packed and unpacked. She had loaded the dog, cat and child up in the car and driven the whole way by herself. Twenty-four hours in a car, no money to stop and stay the night. She had sang songs, told stories and stopped at every rest stop between Texas and North Carolina so that Tadpole wouldn’t see the golden arches and want a Happy meal for which she had no money to purchase. It was all too much for her.
She had thought about it for a long time. She was unhappy in her marriage. He was mean and abusive. Why had she not listened when everyone told her how he was? She was unhappy in her life. She had always been independent and strong. How had she changed into this sniffling weak human being? How had she let this happen?
She turned the shower on and stood under the scalding spray. She stood there and let the tears flow. She tried to scrub the unhappiness from her skin with the loofa, tried to dry the loneliness and sadness off with the towel. She took a deep breath and looked at herself in the mirror. She was 26 years old and felt 62.
Gladys looked in her closet and pulled out the prettiest thing she owned. It was a pink satin robe her mother had given her the year before. She wrapped it around her thin body and tied a knot in the sash. She made her way to the kitchen wiping down the counter tops and putting away the dishes. She didn’t want to do this with a dirty kitchen. She turned and let herself out the back door onto the screened-in porch.
There in the middle of the ceiling was her knot. She had done this for her. She had planned it the whole drive. She knew just exactly what she was going to do and how she was going to do it. She would wait until no one was home to bother her. She would allow herself time. She read several books on how to be successful at it.
Time was wasting if she was going to try this out she had to do it before anyone came home. She stepped to the middle of the room and sat down. She first tested with just part of her weight then shifted to the center and put more of her weight into it.
There was a slip and a crash. Everything went dark. Gladys picked herself up off the floor and looked at her hanging wicker chair in pieces on the floor. The knot had given way with the full weight of her body and had tossed her and the chair into the floor. The rope hung with the knot partially tied close to her head. Gladys shook her head and thought “I should have used a chain and hook”. She gathered up the rope and realized her peaceful afternoon to herself swinging in the chair, sipping wine and reading her favorite book was not going to happen.